The grant project, Digitization of Ecologic History in the Driftless Area of Minnesota, included digitizing and preserving items that highlight the Driftless area: an 1862 transcription of the 1855 U.S. federal land survey of Winona, which was the first U.S. survey of the area, and two botanical books with specimens that were collected by students at the Winona Normal School; one is from 1899 and the other from 1912. However, the main portion of the grant was to collaborate on a shared resource, a story map titled, “Exploring the Ecological History of Winona, Minnesota.” WSU contracted with St. Mary’s University of Minnesota Geospatial Services (SMUMN-GSS) to reconstruct a map of the vegetative communities in the city of Winona based on the 1855 land survey and other available data, which examined the ecological change in Winona. Additionally, SMUMN-GSS used the data found in the botanical specimen books to create the story map, “Historic Winona Township Plant Specimen Collections.”
This project was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
St. Mary's University of Minnesota-GeoSpacial Services, Winona State University-Library Special Collections, and Winona County Historical Society
The Winona State University Library Special Collections include a historic botanical specimen book, created by Alice Ford (1912) a student at the Winona Normal School. The Winona County Historical Society's collections include Helen J. Monahan's 1899 botanical specimen book. This StoryMap was inspired by and used information from Alice Ford's 1912 botanical specimen book and Helen J. Monahan 1899 botanical specimen book.
St. Mary's University of Minnesota-GeoSpatial Services; Winona State University-Library, Special Collections; and Winona County Historical Society
The Winona County Historical Society (WCHS), Winona State University (WSU) and Geospatial Services (GSS) from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota (SMUMN) have formed a partnership to produce shared resources that can be used to educate the Winona community about the local ecological history of the area. A notebook from the late 19th century containing a transcription of the original land surveyor's notes was found in the WCHS archive. The surveyor's field notes provide a record of the Winona area as it appeared during this time period, including landmarks, vegetation and other natural resources.
The goal of this project was to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) to digitally compile and map the landscape observations contained in the historical land survey and develop methods to effectively share this information with the local community. This StoryMap was produced as part of this effort and reviews the process used to create a historical land cover map of the Winona area using the land survey field notes. Scroll through the StoryMap to learn more and explore the ecological history of Winona, Minnesota.